Sunday 10 November 2013

Motorist and Cyclist Crackdowns - Compare and Contrast Coverage in Cambridge News

Sometimes its possible to see how Cambridge News troll for hate against cyclists with great clarity by comparing how they treat near identical stories involving cyclists and motorists. And we have recently had perhaps the most obvious example we could wish for.

On the 7th of November there was a simple, matter of fact report covering 727 motorists stopped by police for a range of offences. I should think its quite hard to stop a car, its slow, it takes space and time, and you just can't always tell whether someone is breaking the law by using a mobile phone as they flash past at 50mph. Not that any of this is reflected in the story - we've got the number who were stopped, a statement from plod saying they do this, and thats about it. No discussion of whether people were made safer through this, no random opinions from people who want to express a view, its a simple statement of fact.

But lets compare that with another story on the 8th of November relating to yet another crackdown on 'danger' cyclists. I won't go in to how counterproductive or pointless this exercise is - how 70% of cyclist injuries are caused entirely by motorists and a mere 2% by cyclists without lights - thats been covered here and in countless other places before. What I want to look at here is how the two stories are covered.

So £1500 worth of fines were handed out to cyclists according to the story. That'd be 30 fines of £50 each, with another 10 cyclists being talked to. So rather trivial compared with the 727 motorists caught above - who at £50 a shot would have paid out more than £36000 of course (not in the headline - and it would have been a heck of a lot more than that too). 

But apparently lots more ('scores') of cyclists could have been caught but for the time it took to deal with each one - no doubt true. Interesting that same point wasn't made for stopping motorists, stopping each of which takes much longer than stopping cyclists. So if scores of cyclists were missed, obviously hundreds of motorists were missed.

I note that we've also got quite a lot of coverage of excuses given by cyclists in this story for not having lights - like they've been stolen or the rider has been surprised by how quickly it has got dark (both entirely credible in the first couple of weeks after the clocks have changed in a town where even things bolted to your bike can get nicked). And these credible reasons are set up for us to mock - the only reason for this being that they're stated by cyclists. But the best line, from a special, is this one:
“It is very frustrating. People also think a light on their bag is enough, but it must be on the frame of the bike.”
So the police are being sent out to stop cyclists with perfectly visible lights displayed in a slightly erroneous way. And thats something that the article leaves entirely unchallenged - its supportive of spending police time on dealing with riders whose lights are entirely visible, who are not demonstrably endangering themselves or anyone else. It doesn't even question this.

Make no mistake - Cambridge 'News' isn't what it claims to be. Its not a newspaper, its not a news source - its an anti-cyclist, pro-motorist lobbying group. Occasionally its quite subtle about it, but don't lets pretend that cultivating the friendship or good will of this part of the sewer press is worth our while. It has again declared itself the enemy of cyclists in Cambridge.

Still not convinced? Well wear a helmet, they should be compulsory, the police commissioners son saw some people with poorly heads because they didn't wear helmets. No analysis, no discussion of the problem with dealing with mere anecdotal evidence... Trolling. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hey, Cambridge Cycling Campaign - we need a city wide policy for the complete alienation of this cyclist hating institution. Enough is enough - you've picked specific journalists at that paper who you won't talk t any more, but we're past that. Its policy of that paper to rain hate down on us whenever they can. We need a plan of action. Are you up for this or will you go on collaborating with your enemy?


  1. owned by owned by (>21%)
    .....and (~20%)
    .....and (<20%).

    The media is a cartel and before a counter strategy can be formed people really need to understand what they are dealing with.

  2. The rule about fitting lights to the bike and not the luggage is a particularly stupid technicality in light of regulation 21, item 6 of whose table allows you to attach lights to luggage if the luggage would otherwise obscure the lights. Really, if the position and visibility requirements are complied with, it shouldn't matter how lights are attached.

    1. Makes perfect sense that if your coat might obscure the light then you put the light on your coat or your rucksack. Sadly the Police aren't particularly good at the detail of road traffic laws.